The Fight For Net Neutrality

By | June 1, 2017
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The Fight For Net Neutrality

Before we begin our rant, let’s first define what net neutrality is and what happens when it’s gone:

What is Net Neutrality

“Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.” (Definition from https://keepournetfree.org/information.html )

What Happens if it’s Gone?

“Without net neutrality, ISPs can force websites like Amazon or Netflix to pay additional fees to be accessible. Without net neutrality ISPs have the ability to smother their competition by simply making it inaccessible to consumers. Garage-based startups of the world simply cease to exist, unable to even reach market. If net neutrality is removed ISPs will have full reign over the internet, this likely means you can expect to see things like Internet fast lanes – what does that mean? Imagine having to pay extra money to access websites like Facebook or Hulu.” (From https://keepournetfree.org/information.html )

Now, put on your imagination caps and imagine a highway that has 6 lanes. Each lane has it’s own speed limit. If you are rich and can afford to pay the most money, you can drive in lanes  5 and 6 with no speed limit at all. If you afford to pay a little less, you can drive in lanes 3 and 4 with a speed limit of 70 MPH. But if you don’t have much money, you’ll be able to use the highway, but only lanes 1 and 2 – which have a speed limit of 35 MPH. But that speed is rarely attainable because there is so much traffic… it’s bumper-to-bumper if you’re driving in lanes 1 and 2.

OK got the picture? This is an over-simplified example of how the internet may work if net neutrality rules are removed.

On May 18th 2017 the FCC voted 2-1 to remove net neutrality regulations in the United States.

What this means,, no one knows… exactly. But it doesn’t take a huge leap of logic to imagine sites paying ISPs for “favored” or “sponsored” status. If you’ve been paying attention, small mom & pop ISPs have been disappearing  from the landscape, either being absorbed by the big predatory ISPs like Spectrum (formed by the merger of Charter Communications & Time Warner Cable), Comcast/Xfinity, AT&T, and a few other big, but lesser players… or simply because they were too small to compete.

Currently about 90% of us access the Internet via one one of the big, semi-monopolistic, ISPs. Since there is relatively small number of ISPs left, and so many tens of millions of us connected to the Internet via one of these ISPs,  it’s not hard to imagine scenarios in which, for example, Hulu pays ISPs “A”, “B” and “C” for “favored status”.

If you’re a Hulu subscriber, you’re not going to have any complaints. But if you’re a Netflix subscriber, when you visit Netflix.com you’re either redirected to Hulu, or your bandwidth will be throttled by your ISP – so much so that watching Netflix becomes an exercise in patience… and your movie or show stops and starts, buffering every few minutes.

Imagine sites that support your political views or religious beliefs being throttled, while sites which support opposite political beliefs or other religions are favored because they paid to have sponsored status with YOUR ISP? How would you feel if you visit a site you’ve used for years and find that you’ve being redirected to other sites that espouse religious or political beliefs that are opposite or upsetting or distasteful to you?

You think it can’t happen? It can. When money and ISPs rule the internet without restraint the companies and sites who pay the most will be favored and those who don’t pay, can’t afford to pay or won’t pay are less accessible or not reasonably accessible at all.

Sites like ours would not be accessible or barely so. Access to our site would be severely restricted by your ISP who would throttle your speed when you visit our site. They’ve could list our a “slow lane site” because we can’t afford to pay to be in fast lane or even the moderate speed lane. The truth is that we can’t afford to pay at all, so there is a better than even chance that our site and sites like ours, will be so slow that no one, but the most intrepid, will ever want to visit.

The end of the road for small developers and freeware?

Many freeware programs are offered by individual developers who are, thanks to net neutrality, able to buy a domain name, create a site, put it online and promote his freeware. His site will have the same accessibility as Google, Microsoft, and other large corporate sites. When net neutrality is gone, his site may well not enjoy equal accessibility and his freeware – and some of our favorite programs – will no longer be easily accessible.

It’s easy to see how this may all work out.

It’s easy to see how ISPs may give favored or sponsored status to sites, companies and organizations that pay the most; it’s all about the money. In this age, it’s always all about the money. The only thing that has stopped this kind of thing from happening up until now have been the net neutrality regulations.

Imagine if the FCC allowed TV stations and networks to broadcast whatever they wanted, whenever they want. Imagine the kind of garbage our kids would be exposed to? It’s bad enough as it is. But imagine no rules at all?

We are not sure how much power any of us have as individuals or what we can do to prevent all these worst-case scenarios from becoming  everyday reality. But here are many sites where you can learn more about net neutrality and sites that can help your voice be heard. Will letting congress know how we feel help us keep our internet free? Have you any faith that our congress to do anything at all? All we can do is try to keep the internet free by contacting our senators and congressmen and congresswomen and tell them we want to keep net neutrality.

At the end of this article, we list some sites where you can learn more about net neutrality and what you can do to help in the fight against those who want to prevent the internet, our internet, from being controlled by big ISPs and big money.

Want to see what the internet would be like without net neutrality?

There’s a “Removal of Net Neutrality” add-on for Chrome that you can install that simulates what the internet might be like when net neutrality is gone.

Here’s more information about that simulator…

“To demonstrate the impact of removing Net Neutrality, this extension slows your internet connection and blocks several websites…

With the FCC preparing to remove Title II restrictions on ISPs and destroy Net Neutrality, it is important that every citizen of the United States understands what the removal of Net Neutrality would entail. This extension shows you what the ramifications of this decision would be by slowing all websites except for “sponsored sites”, and blocking content those sites’ competitors’ websites….”

CLOUDEIGHT INTERNET _ COMPUTER TIPS & TRICKS

You can install the “Removal of Net Neutrality Simulator” by using your Chrome browser and going to https://goo.gl/6ki26E and installing the add-on.

We know. It seems like people have been talking about net neutrality and what would happen if we didn’t have it – for a really long time. But now, all the pieces are in place to bring an end to net neutrality. Is this what you want? Does the government really represent the the voice of the people? It’s hard to believe that any of us, except the rich and powerful will benefit from the end of net neutrality. But what do you think?

Here are some sites you can visit to learn more about net neutrality and the end of net neutrality. We hope you take some time to visit them:

https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality

https://www.keepournetfree.org

http://www.theopeninter.net/

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/what-you-can-do-save-net-neutrality-2017-version

Email your representitives — made easy for you:
https://act.eff.org/action/tell-congress-quit-trying-to-sabotage-net-neutrality

And remember, if net neutrality was not in place, it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to reach any of the sites listed above.

7 thoughts on “The Fight For Net Neutrality

  1. LIBBY RORKE

    HOW CAN THE USA CONTROL THE INTERNET FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD?? I KNOW, THEY, THE GOVERNMENT, ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR AND WOULD NO DOUBT DETERMINE THE RATES AND TAKE CONTROL USING OUR MONEY. MANY PEOPLE ARE ANTI ANY GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS BUT MANY REGULATIONS ARE NEEDED AS IN THIS CASE. SOME PEOPLE JUST REACT TO THINGS WITHOUT LOOKING FOR THE LONG TERM CIRCUMSTANCES AND RAMIFICATIONS. THIS IS SOMETHING THOSE OF US WHO RELY ON PARTICULAR WEBSITES, SUCH AS CLOUD8, NEED TO GET ONTO OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ABOUT AS TC SAID. WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CHANGE OR DELAY SOME PROPOSED CHANGES. BUT THIS IS ALSO MORE THAN OUR FAVORITE WEBSITES WHICH ARE IMPORTANT. KIDS IN SCHOOLS NOW ARE ALL LEARNING HOW TO USE COMPUTERS AS THEY ARE WHAT ARE REQUIRED FOR SO MANY DIFFERENT PROFESSIONS. SO THAT ALL THE AIRLINES CAN KEEP THEIR PLANES RUNNING SMOOTHLY, THEY WILL BE PAYING THE HIGHER COSTS AND NATURALLY THOSE COSTS WILL BE PASSED ONTO US, THE CONSUMER. HOW MUCH WILL OUR UTILITY BILLS GO UP AS WELL? HOSPITALS CANNOT BE RUN WITHOUT COMPUTERS SO THE COST OF MEDICAL CARE WILL BE EVEN HIGHER. FAST FOOD PLACES, EVERYTHING IS RUN WITH COMPUTERS EXCEPT FOR SOME OLD CHINESE STORES WHERE THE ABACUS IS STILL USED. IT’S JUST NOT US BEING ABLE TO KEEP OUR FAVORITE WEBSITES, IT’S EVERYTHING IN OUR LIVES AS COMPUTERS ARE WHAT KEEP EVERYTHING FUNCTIONING. THE RESULT OF REMOVING THE NET NEUTRALITY REGULATION WILL BE LIKE A ROCK SMASHING OUR WINDSHIELD AND SPIDERING THROUGHOUT ALL THE THE GLASS. THE RIPPLE EFFECT HITTING THOSE WHO DO NOT EVEN USE COMPUTERS. THIS SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER RULE WHICH WILL TAKE MANY OF US BACK TO THE PRE COMPUTER AGE AND WE WILL BE LEFT IN THE DARK. OTHER COUNTRIES WILL FORGE AHEAD IN THE CYBER AGE AND WHERE WILL THE US BE? THIS IS SO WRONG AND ALMOST THE END OF FREE ENTERPRISE. WE NEED TO KEEP CLOUD8 IN THE HIGH SPEED LANES. LET’S ALL GET TO WORK TO GET THIS STOPPED. END OF MY RANT.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      The government is not going to control anything. In the U.S.A. (does not affect other countries), the government wants to do away with all the net neutrality “equal access” laws that have governed the Internet Service Providers and content providers in the USA. The government wants the market to determine access. So ISPs can do what they want – make deals with big content providers (for a price) and promise them preferred access. It’s not the government trying to control anything, it’s allowing the ISPs and content providers to make deals – thus doing away with free and equal access for all sites on the Web. This would only affect people in other countries visiting U.S. based sites.

      Reply
  2. Jason Miller

    What disturbs me the most is that we elected these morons into office. Even worse is the fact we re-elect them into office even after they make stupid decisions like this one. We get what we deserve in that respect. Things like this will keep happening until the American public wakes up and sees that they have the power to put an end to this stuff. That power is in the voting booth. Not riots. Not stopping traffic or blocking people from getting to work. In the voting booth. Get these people that are hurting us out of office. The ones that are in office now, flood them with emails and phone calls. Remind them that they work for US. We hired them to do a job for US. We are THEIR EMPLOYER. They do what WE want. Don’t be standing up there all over the country making speeches about your personal feelings on something. Get back here and do what WE hired you to do. Myself, I’m really tired of the fact that, every time I call my Senator’s office or Congressman’s office, they are not there. Where are they? Are they doing their job I hired them to do? If not, when I get into that voting booth, they get fired.
    Okay. I’m finished.

    Reply
  3. Dawn Campbell

    Makes me want to curl up in a hole and give up with all this crap. Nothing is ever sacred anymore and heaven help us all. That’s if the world lasts long enough.

    Reply
  4. George Stoll

    Leave the constrains in place. Let the big boys grow in size by building a better mouse trap.

    Reply
  5. Diane

    IF we go back into ‘time’ our Country was based & formed on the valves of both the rich & poor…they both were needed. Business depended on the backs of those that brought them their profits….of which (back then) was then ‘shared’ to those workers. What has happened since is the ‘ME ATTITUDE ‘ of this day & age!! There’s an expression I’ve heard many times “Money talks but Bulls–t walks”. It’s money that rules & forgets who is producing it for them! Of course we also want the ‘things’ we’ve worked & earned the same as others…I just want ya to share, make my life easier as well.

    Reply
  6. Gina

    I’ve been trying to educate my friends about Net Neutrality for quite some time, even through social media. I haven’t seen many “likes” on these posts or gotten comments from people who said they signed the petitions I posted. Now we’re closer than ever to losing it. I shared your article because you explained it in layman’s terms and even provided examples of what losing it will cost all of us. Unfortunately, I feel frustrated, but I guess we can only lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink it. I just wish they would take a little time to educate themselves because they will definitely regret it once it’s lost.

    Reply

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